India names ex-government official, former WhatsApp exec as new antitrust members, sources say

    A security guard stands outside the Competition Commission of India (CCI) headquarters in New Delhi

    A security guard stands outside the Competition Commission of India (CCI) headquarters in New Delhi, India, January 13, 2020. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File photo Acquire Licensing Rights

    NEW DELHI, Sept 19 (Reuters) – India’s antitrust body has appointed three new members to oversee cases, including a former government official from the commerce ministry and a former interim compliance officer of WhatsApp, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

    The new members appointed are Anil Agrawal, a former police official who recently worked at India’s commerce ministry and worked on various startup initiatives and setting up of government’s e-commerce network, Open Network For Digital Commerce. He confirmed the appointment to Reuters, but declined to elaborate.

    Two other appointments are Sweta Kakkad, a lawyer whose LinkedIn profile showed she is a former interim chief compliance officer at WhatsApp. The third appointee is Deepak Anurag, who is a former official who worked at India’s Comptroller and Auditor General.

    Kakkad and Anurag could not be reached for comment. The appointment decisions were finalised and taken by the federal government, the sources said.

    The Competition Commission of India (CCI) did not respond to queries from Reuters.

    The appointments come at a time when CCI is investigating several high-profile global companies for alleged antitrust violations, including Amazon (AMZN.O), Walmart’s (WMT.N) Flipkart, Google (GOOGL.O) and liquor giant Pernod Ricard (PERP.PA).

    The appointment of senior members is critical to functioning of CCI. In May, India named Ravneet Kaur as chairperson of the CCI. Kaur held several positions in the government over the last two decades, including as chairperson of India Tourism Development Corp between 2017 and 2019.

    Reporting by Aditya Kalra; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and David Evans

    Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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    Aditya Kalra is the Company News Editor for Reuters in India, overseeing business coverage and reporting stories on some of the world’s biggest companies. He joined Reuters in 2008 and has in recent years written stories on challenges and strategies of a wide array of companies — from Amazon, Google and Walmart to Xiaomi, Starbucks and Reliance. He also extensively works on deeply-reported and investigative business stories.

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